Newark’s Regis ‘The First’ Sugden started as he means to go on when he made his professional boxing debut on Saturday 16 March on the card of NO HYPE REQUIRED.
Over 150 of the 23-year old’s supporters were at Nottingham’s Harvey Hadden Stadium to support him in the latest stage of his career, cheering him on to a unanimous points victory over Stephen Backhouse.
Determined to stand out from the very start, Sugden took on a game and dangerous opponent in Backhouse, whose professional record of three wins included a couple against other debutants and a draw against George Rhodes who himself was 5-0.
Although this was a potential banana skin fight for the Suggy’s Gym boxer, it never looked that way as he appeared totally relaxed, strong, accurate and exciting from the get-go. Going about his work meticulously, he stalked his taller and heavier opponent, landing ferocious body shots which hurt the tough and durable Backhouse.
Using his boxing brain along with his brawn to control the action, Sugden continued to pile on the pressure in each and every round, appearing patient and technically superior in all respects. Given his recent inactivity, it was an incredible performance by the Newarker and, as the fight progressed, it was clear that he was really enjoying himself.
When Backhouse gambled in the third round, Sugden went on the move momentarily before going straight back on the attack, landing yet more ferocious body punches which he followed up with some seriously hurtful headshots.
The fourth round saw him put on a real boxing display and, to the delight of his supporters in the capacity crowd, after the final bell his hand was raised as he was awarded the unanimous 40-36 victory.
Speaking after the fight, Sugden said: “I think I showed everyone here tonight that I can box as well as fight and did all the things I needed to do to get the win.
“Obviously there’s always room for improvement but, now that my weight is down, I’m looking forward to developing my technique further and keeping really busy.
“I’ve already been offered a few opportunities, including two very big ones. One of those was abroad but for now I want to box locally and give everyone the chance to be there to support me. So the next time out will be on Saturday 18 May at Bingham Leisure Centre. Tickets for this one will be available soon and I can’t wait to get back out there.”
Suggy’s Gym head coach Dean Sugden commented: “This was a great debut against a genuinely dangerous opponent and Regis looked a million dollars from start to finish.
“I knew he would be explosive but calm, patient and calculated on his pro debut but his performance took the boxing fraternity by surprise. The overall reaction was ‘Wow, we didn’t expect him to be as good as he was!’ and he really stood out on a card that was stacked with talent.
“Now all eyes will be on him in May and he’ll want to do it again against an opponent who will really test him.”
Pictures by Dan Kelly, DKO Action Imagery